When one ponders over the history of nations, they will realise that all are in the process of constant change. This is the course destined for them by Allah and nothing can change that.
If an honourable guest visits you in your dwellings, showers you with goodness and loves you – which you reciprocate; then the time for his departure arrives, how are you going to bid him farewell and how are you going to feel? What separation is then greater and more emotional than that from the beloved guest of the Muslims, the blessed month of Ramadan?
Ramadan is the month of righteousness and generosity, the month of forgiveness and liberation from Hell. It is all but gone now and nothing remains of it but a few days. Yesterday, we were congratulating each other on the arrival of the month; today we are consoling one another over its departure and invoking Allah to accept all our acts of worship.
In this noble month, many have done good deeds, while others have done the opposite. These deeds are going to testify for or against us on the Day of Reckoning. We do not know whether we are going to live to witness this glorious month again or not. Therefore, the fortunate Muslim during this month was the one who was able to perfect their acts of worship with sincerity and self-examination and end it with sincere repentance, for acts are judged according to their ends.
Our righteous predecessors, may Allah be pleased with them, used to exert maximum effort in perfecting their acts of worship and had grave concerns regarding their acceptance or rejection. ‘Ali ibn Abu Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him, warned: “Have a greater concern for the acceptance of your deeds than you do for the amount of deeds you have performed. Do not you hear the saying of Allah (which means): “Indeed, Allah accepts only from the righteous.”[Quran 5: 27]
Fudhaalah ibn ‘Ubayd, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “To know that Allah has accepted a single act of righteousness from me would be dearer to me than this world and all that it contains.” This is how our diligent predecessors, may Allah be pleased with them, were.
May the peace of Allah be upon the month of fasting and night prayers! May the peace of Allah be upon the month of the Quran and the remembrance of Allah! It has now passed like the twinkling of an eye, yet while it was here it was an arena for those who race to do good deeds. We have to endeavour, then, to utilise the remaining hours of it by performing good deeds for Ramadan can never be substituted by any other month. It is a month in which hearts are refined and sins are forgiven. It is a month of security and peace for the frightened. In this great month, many hands have been raised in supplication, many a tear has been shed and many a heart has been struck with the fear of Allah. Allah has showered His Mercy and Favor on many of His slaves in this month - particularly in the last ten days of it.
When will one who has not been forgiven his/her sins in this month ever be forgiven? When will the one whose supplication is rejected in Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Decree/Power) ever have it accepted? Ibn Rajab may Allah have mercy upon him narrated that ‘Ali ibn Abu Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him, used to proclaim in the last night of Ramadan: “I earnestly wish I knew those whose acts of worship have been accepted so that I could congratulate them; and I earnestly wish I knew those whose acts of worship have been rejected so that I could commiserate with them!”
Whose loss is greater than he who missed the blessings of Ramadan? When will the one who did not reform himself during the month of Ramadan ever do so? When will the one who was not cured from the sickness of ignorance and heedlessness in this month ever get cured?
For those among us who have committed great sins, these few remaining blessed days are an opportunity to repent, for whoever is librated from Hell has indeed won a great reward. As for those who have been liberated from Hell by our Lord; they should do their level best not to indulge in sin again. They should not move closer to Hell after Allah Almighty Has pardoned them from it. We must hasten, therefore, to do more good deeds, for some of us may not live to see the end of this year. Let the negligent ones among us seize the opportunity of this outgoing month in doing righteous deeds before it is too late. Let the heedless ones among us wake up and remember the terrible fate that awaits them; let them try to spend the rest of their lives doing good deeds.
Let us look at our present condition in light of the effects Ramadanhad on us. Let us compare our condition at the start of Ramadan to our condition now: Was the advent of Ramadan something that made us become pious? Did it reform our actions and conduct? Did it unify our ranks against our enemies? Did it remove the hatred and rancour between us? Did it eliminate the evil deeds committed by our communities?
We have responded to the call of our Lord by fasting, so we should respond to His Command in all other matters and at all times. We must humble our hearts for the mention of Allah and be united in adherence to the Book of Allah (the Quran) and the Sunnah (tradition) of His Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ), so that the Muslim nation may be saved from calamities.
Allah has prescribed for us, at the end of Ramadan, a great deed with which we can make amends for our deficiencies within that month. By doing this, we can also gain immense rewards; Allah Says (what means): “He wants for you to complete the period and to magnify Allah for that (to) which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.”[Quran 2: 185]
Therefore, Allah also prescribed Zakat Al-Fitr [end of Ramadan alms-giving] for us as a sign of gratitude to Him for facilitating fasting and night prayers for us, to purify us from any obscenity we may have uttered and as a feeding for the poor and the needy in order to promote the brotherhood and unity among the Muslims. The amount to be given is one Saa’ [approximately 3 kg] of wheat, rice or any other staple food of the land. It is to be given by every Muslim, be they young, old, male or female. It is also rewardable if it is given on behalf of the unborn foetus. It is best given between the Fajr and ‘Eed prayers (on the day of ‘Eed) but there is no harm if it is given a day or two before ‘‘Eed.
It is recommended to give it out in foodstuff as it has been explicitly explained in the Hadeeth and in accordance with the practice of our righteous predecessors, may Allah be pleased with them. So give this charity out, for Allah has only asked you to give a negligible amount of the huge bounty that He has bestowed upon you.
We should continue in our good deeds even after Ramadan and be constant in observing the five obligatory prayers and other acts of worship. We should know that among the signs of the acceptance of a good deed is to continue and be steadfast in performing that deed, and that it is only the evil people who know and worship Allah in Ramadan only.